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3 Days in the Danakil Depression

3 Days

Embark on an extraordinary 3-day expedition to the Danakil Depression, a place that defies the ordinary and beckons the adventurous soul. Nestled in the northernmost reaches of Ethiopia, this region boasts extremes – it is one of the hottest, lowest, and driest places on Earth. Witness the surreal landscapes featuring salt lakes, mesmerizing lava lakes, otherworldly neon acid springs, and awe-inspiring volcanoes. The Danakil’s remoteness, coupled with its harsh climate and breathtaking visuals, creates an unparalleled journey beyond the horizon. Join us for 3 Days in the Danakil, where every moment promises discovery and a truly remarkable adventure.

Itinerary

At Mekele, you’ll meet the rest of your tour group and pile into the Toyota Landcruisers that will take you into the Danakil in convoy. You’ll begin the drive into the Danakil Depression at around 9AM. The roads leading out of Mekele are smooth and asphalted, and as you drive further out of town there are some wonderful views of the Tigrayan landscape.

As you drive further towards the Afar region, the roads get rougher until you reach the Danakil desert. Here, the roads are a maze of solidified lava, rock and sand with an occasional palm lined oasis. You’ll stop for lunch at the roadside where your cooking team will do you proud, before continuing on to Aksoma, the base camp of the Erta Ale volcano. The drive form Mekele to Aksoma is around 6 hours.

At Aksoma, your cooking team will prepare dinner which will be served around 5PM. As the sun begins to dip behind the horizon, you begin the 3-hour hike up Erta Ale. Camels will transport mattresses, blankets and additional water up the volcano.

The trek is a 3-hour walk along a gentle incline. You’ll reach the crater rim around 11PM, where the fiery lava lake awaits.

You’ll spend the night camping on the volcano at a makeshift campsite. Your sleeping materials will be provided for you and transported up the volcano by camels. It’s rough and ready, but that’s all part of the fun!

Note: The Journey into the Danakil Depression tour starts and ends in Mekele. The region is easily accessible via domestic flight from Addis Ababa, or along the historic circuit. Depending on your wider travel plans, we can make the necessary arrangements to get you to and from Mekele.

Activities: Drive Mekele to Erta Ale, Hike up Erta Ale

Overnight: Camping on Erta Ale volcano

Wake up early to descend the volcano before the sun rises to high. Visit the lava lake one last time before beginning the 3-hour descent back to Aksoma. You’ll begin your descent around 6:30AM and will reach Aksoma by 9AM at the latest for breakfast.

Today you’ll drive across the sweeping salt pans of the Danakil towards the small hamlet of Hamed Ela. If time permits, you’ll visit Lake Asale and the camel caravans. The sun set over Lake Asale is extraordinary.

Return to Hamed Ela for overnight.

Activities: Drive from Erta Ale to Hamed Ela across the desert, visit Lake Asale and camel caravans

Overnight: Hamed Ela

After breakfast at Hamed Ela, you’ll drive to Ragad (Asebo) and watch the local Afar people mining the salt from the ground and loading on to the camel caravans.

Drive to Dallol, one of the most stunning geological phenomena on the planet. The kaleidoscopic landscape of greens, reds, and yellows formed by acidic springs and salt mounds create an alien landscape.

In the afternoon, visit Lake Afrera, a hyper-saline lake in the Danakil fed by a system of surrounding hot springs. Take a dip in the lake where you’ll float due to the salt content. Wash off the salt in the nearby hot springs.

Begin the drive back to Mekele to line up with a return flight to Addis Ababa or continue your onwards journey with us.

Activities: watch the salt miners, visit the Dallol cinder cone volcano, swim in Lake Afrera and the hot springs

Package Includes and Excludes

The Package Includes

  • Domestic flights
  • Entrance fees
  • Local Guide Fees
  • Car rental service
  • Accommodation
  • Rope fees
  • Meals (3)
  • Miscellaneous Expenses

The Package Excluding

  • Tip
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Visa
  • International flights
  • Souvenir Expenses

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

3 Days in the Danakil Depression
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